Involvement Adviser Gemma Watson co-ordinates the Young Inspection Volunteers team and organises training and team meetings to help support the young people in their inspection work
She said: “All our young people, aged 18–26, are specially trained and have experience of care, either having lived in foster care, residential houses or with extended family in a formal kinship care arrangement. Some have used aftercare support, disability services or experienced homelessness.
“Young people using care services will often be intimidated by older people in formal dress asking them questions, so it’s very useful for the Care Inspectorate in our inspections to have younger people who have experience of care to engage with them. Our YIVs offer us really valuable insights as they can look at services through the lens of a young person and not a professional, and they often ask practical and challenging questions. They can tell us a lot about how children and young people experience care and the difference it makes to them. Our YIVs play a vital role in working with the inspectors, making sure that the concerns of young people are understood and taken seriously.”
It’s also good experience for the YIVs personally as their work with the Care Inspectorate opens their eyes to the different roles available in the care sector and gives them time, as well as a wide range of new skills, to think about what they want to do when they move on.
Gemma added: “One of the great aspects of my job is to see these young people really grow in confidence through the role and then go on to get jobs that will make a difference to people’s lives.”